AUSTIN, TX – In an op-ed published in the Sunday, November 22 edition of the Houston Chronicle, UT-Austin senior Mac McCann argues, “Because of reciprocity agreements with 39 states, CHL holders from other states (like Alabama, where 18-year-olds can get a license) could carry in UT buildings as well”; however, had Mr. McCann bothered to read Texas’ reciprocity agreement with Alabama, he would have seen that it very clearly states that Alabama license holders must “comply with all laws, rules, and regulations of the State of Texas governing concealed carry,including age restrictions [emphasis added].”
In his opening line, Mr. McCann states, “Texas Senate Bill 11 will provide zero benefits, undermine the UT community’s right to self-govern, and will create (and already has created) a climate of fear.” Students for Concealed Carry obviously disagrees that allowing trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) the same measure of personal protection in college buildings that they already enjoy virtually everywhere else equates to “zero benefit,” and we contend that any “climate of fear” on the UT-Austin campus was brought there by the fear mongers who insist on portraying campus carry as something more than an extension of a law already in place throughout the rest of Texas.
As for the suggestion that the University of Texas at Austin has a right to self-govern, the Texas Legislature has, for at least three decades, made it abundantly clear that any right to self-govern (aka the right of “local control”) does not extend to governance of firearms. The state’s thirty-year-old firearm-ordinance preemption law was passed by a Democratic legislature and has been repeatedly (2007, 2011, 2013, 2013, 2015) strengthened by Republican legislatures. Since 2003, Section 30.06(e) of the Texas Penal Code has invalidated any concealed-carry-prohibited sign posted by a governmental entity to a location where concealed carry is not statutorily prohibited under Section 46.03 or 46.035 of the Penal Code. The Texas Legislature—first under Democratic control and then under Republican control—has consistently voted against local control of firearms; therefore, to suggest that colleges and universities have a right to “self-govern” guns is to suggest that they are entitled to a measure of control not afforded to counties, municipalities, or any other state institution.
Mr. McCann goes on to make numerous other dubious arguments, such as pointing out that there are few violent crimes on college campuses (rebutted here), claiming (without any factual basis) that “multiple [Umpqua Community College] students on campus that day did actually have concealed handguns on them at the time of the shooting” (rebutted here), arguing that campus carry will require Texas universities to expend tens of millions of dollars (rebutted here, here, and here), claiming that CHL holders are likely to get shot by police during an active-shooter situation (rebutted here and here), suggesting that it’s unfair to give more control to private universities than to public universities (rebutted here), arguing that campus carry will “[limit] dialogue within classrooms” (rebutted here), and claiming that campus carry has already caused one UT professor to resign (rebutted here).
Mac McCann, like most of UT-Austin’s anti-campus carry activists, speaks from a position grounded not in reality but in a perceived reality. Like Gun Free UT, he’s so convinced of the inherent rightness of his position that he can’t be bothered with facts or logic. The campus carry opponents at the University of Texas aren’t “armed with reason“; they’re armed with fear, prejudice, and conventional wisdom masquerading as reason.